There has been a great deal of talk over the last few weeks about some big changes that are happening to the Internet: mainly, the transition to IPv6. Exactly what IPv6 means is still a mystery to most people. Luckily, we have a simple explanation that can help you to better understand it.
What it is
IPv6 is the latest version of Internet Protocol (IP), which is the method by which data is sent from a computer over the Internet. Until now, we have been using IPv4, which will soon be running out of addresses, which prompted the development of IPv6.
IPv6 allows for additional addresses by using longer number sequences, which allows for a greater number of unique combinations (IPv4 used 32-bit addresses, where IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses). Today is World IPv6 Day, which marks the initial transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
How the transition may affect you
The biggest issues associated with IPv6 will probably occur during the initial transition. Whether or not you will experience a problem accessing a page will depend on your browser and the Web server of that domain. Potential problems include:
- If you’re using IPv6 and you try to access an IPv4 site, you may receive a “404” error.
- If you are on a network that only supports IPv4, you may not be able to access IPv6 sites – you can reconfigure your network in order to fix this.
Despite these minor problems, many people agree that you will most likely still be able to access any site.
How to avoid IPv6-related problems
If you’re experiencing connectivity problems, there are a few sites you can go to that will help you determine whether or not they are related to IPv6. Try going to http://omgipv6day.com/ or http://test-ipv6.com/ which will both tell you what problems you may experience, if any, and what changes you need to make in order to fix them.
Although the transition to IPv6 may be confusing at first, it likely won’t cause too many major problems. For more insight into the IPv6 change, check out this PCWorld article.